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GLOBALFOUNDRIES and GlobalWafers Partnering to Expand Semiconductor Wafer Supply

GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF ), the global leader in feature-rich semiconductor manufacturing, and GlobalWafers Co., Ltd. (GWC), one of the top silicon wafer manufacturers in the world, today announced an $800 million agreement to add 300 mm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer manufacturing and expand existing 200 mm SOI wafer production at GWC's MEMC facility in O'Fallon, Missouri.

The silicon wafers produced by GWC are key input materials for semiconductors and an integral part of GF's supply chain. The wafers are used in GF's multi-billion dollar manufacturing facilities, or fabs, where they are used to manufacture the computer chips that are pervasive and vital to the global economy. Today's announcement expands GF's domestic silicon wafer supply from the United States.

TSMC Pressured by U.S. Government for More Chips to Automakers

The United States Department of Commerce is reportedly pressing TSMC to meet chip orders by automobile manufacturers. The ongoing chip shortage threatens to derail production of automobiles by leading car makers, and is a major source of worry for one of America's largest manufacturing industries. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said that the Department has asked TSMC to prioritize orders by U.S. automobile companies in the near-term.

Secretary Raimondo, speaking at the Council of the Americas event on Tuesday, said that critical supply chains of the semiconductor industry required "re-shoring" (return of manufacturing to the US soil). "We're working hard to see if we can get the Taiwanese and TSMC, which is a big company there, to, you know, prioritize the needs of our auto companies since there's so many American jobs on the line," she said, responding to a question by a General Motors executive. Later on Wednesday, TSMC responded, stating "TSMC has been working with all parties to alleviate the automotive chip supply shortage, we understand it is a shared concern of the worldwide automotive industry."

Samsung to Build $17 Billion Silicon Manufacturing Plant in the US by 2023

Samsung has been one of the world's biggest foundries and one of three big players still left in the leading-edge semiconductor process development and manufacturing. However, the Korean giant is always seeking ways to improve its offerings, especially for Western customers. Today, it is reported that Samsung has reportedly talked with regulators in Texas, New York, and Arizona about building a $17 billion silicon manufacturing facility in the United States. The supposed factory is going to be located near Austin, Texas, and is supposed to offer around 1800 jobs. If the deal is approved and Samsung manages to complete the project on time, the factory is supposed to start mass production in Q4 of 2023.

What process is Samsung going to manufacture in the new fab? Well, current speculations are pointing out to the 3 nm node, with Samsung's special GAAFET (Gate All Around FET) technology tied to the new node. The fab is also expected to make use of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography for manufacturing. Samsung already has a facility in the US called S2, however, that will not be upgraded as it is still serving a lot of clients. Instead, the company will build new facilities to accommodate the demand for newer nodes. It is important to note that Samsung will not do any R&D work in the new fab, and the company will only manufacture the silicon there.

Worldwide Server Market Revenue Grew 2.2% Year Over Year in the Third Quarter of 2020, According to IDC

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, vendor revenue in the worldwide server market grew 2.2% year over year to $22.6 billion during the third quarter of 2020 (3Q20). Worldwide server shipments declined 0.2% year over year to nearly 3.1 million units in 3Q20. Volume server revenue was up 5.8% to $19.0 billion, while midrange server revenue declined 13.9% to $2.6 billion, and high-end servers declined by 12.6% to $937 million.

"Global demand for enterprise servers was a bit muted during the third quarter of 2020 although we did see areas of strong demand," said Paul Maguranis, senior research analyst, Infrastructure Platforms and Technologies at IDC. "From a regional perspective, server revenue within China grew 14.2% year over year. And worldwide revenues for servers running AMD CPUs were up 112.4% year over year while ARM-based servers grew revenues 430.5% year over year, albeit on a very small base of revenue."

Huawei to Enter Silicon Manufacturing Business without US Technologies

Semiconductor manufacturing has been the latest victim of the recent trade war between China and the United States. With the US imposing sanctions on Chinese manufacturers, they have not been able to use any US technology without the approval of the US government. That has caused many companies to lose customers and switch their preferred foundry. The US government has also decided to sanction a Chinese company Huawei from accessing any US-technology-based manufacturing facilities, thus has prevented the Chinese company from manufacturing its chips in the facilities of TSMC. Left without almost any way to keep up with the latest semiconductor technology, Huawei is reportedly working on its own manufacturing facilities.

According to the Financial Times, Huawei is about to enter domestic silicon production with its partner company Shanghai IC R&D. And a big note here is that the manufacturing facility will not use any US technology. The production is allegedly going to start as soon as the end of this year, and the first process that will come out the door will be a rather outdated 45 nm node. The company is expecting to move on to a more advanced 28 nm node by the end of next year. While the capacities are unknown, we can assume that it will be enough for the company's purposes. With this move, Huawei will be 100% independent from any US influence and will own the complete vector of software and hardware, that is a custom made design by the company.
Huawei R&D Center

NXP Advances 5G with New Gallium Nitride Fab in Arizona

NXP Semiconductors N.V. today announced the grand opening of its 150 mm (6-inch) RF Gallium Nitride (GaN) fab in Chandler, Arizona, the most advanced fab dedicated to 5G RF power amplifiers in the United States. The new internal factory combines NXP's expertise as the industry leader in RF power and its high-volume manufacturing know-how, resulting in streamlined innovation that supports the expansion of 5G base stations and advanced communication infrastructure in the industrial, aerospace and defense markets.

US Government Could Blacklist Chinese Chipmaker SMIC

The Trump administration has reportedly been considering adding to Chinese chipmaker SMIC (Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation) to the trade blacklist of Chinese companies, restricting the company of doing any business with the United States and/or with any of its affiliates. The original report comes from Reuters and it states that the move came from Pentagon after considering whatever SMIC should be placed on a blacklist. It is so far unclear if other US agencies support the decision, however, it should be public in the near future. The company has received the news on Saturday and it was "in complete shock" about the decision. Shortly after the news broke, SMIC stock has fallen as much as 15% amid the possible blacklist. If SMIC would like to continue working with American suppliers, it would need to seek a difficult-to-obtain license from the government.

Update 28th September: The United States government has officially imposed sanctions on the Chinese chipmaker SMIC. The company is now under US sanctions and is placed on a trade blacklist.

NVIDIA to Acquire Arm for $40 Billion, Creating World's Premier Computing Company for the Age of AI

NVIDIA and SoftBank Group Corp. (SBG) today announced a definitive agreement under which NVIDIA will acquire Arm Limited from SBG and the SoftBank Vision Fund (together, "SoftBank") in a transaction valued at $40 billion. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to NVIDIA's non-GAAP gross margin and non-GAAP earnings per share.

The combination brings together NVIDIA's leading AI computing platform with Arm's vast ecosystem to create the premier computing company for the age of artificial intelligence, accelerating innovation while expanding into large, high-growth markets. SoftBank will remain committed to Arm's long-term success through its ownership stake in NVIDIA, expected to be under 10 percent.

TechPowerUp and Montech Announce Summer Giveaway

TechPowerUp partners with Montech to bring you the TechPowerUp-Montech Summer Giveaway. Montech is an emerging AAA gaming PC hardware brand with top-tier gaming PC cases, power supplies, case fans, and gaming peripherals, with a vast product line under development. The company made its intentions crystal with premium cases, 80 Plus Gold-rated full-modular power supplies, and case fans with the latest impeller and bearing designs. As part of the TechPowerUp-Montech Summer Giveaway, nine lucky winners from the Continental United States stand a chance to bring home some cool Montech gear.

Three lucky winners get a Montech Air X (black+mesh) mid-tower case, each, that packs a pair of large 200 mm front intake fans that build positive air pressure along with a rear 120 mm exhaust, and give you a wealth of storage, cable-management, and liquid cooling preparation. Three other lucky winners get a Montech Gamma II 650 W, a top-shelf full-modular power supply that's 80 Plus Gold rated, offers APFC, DC-to-DC switching, flat ribbon cables, and a noise optimized 120 mm fan. Lastly, three lucky winners get a Montech Beta 550 W PSU, which covers all the bases for a gaming PC, providing all the essential connectivity for a stable single GPU build, with 80 Plus Bronze efficiency. So that's 9 lucky winners, and 9 pieces of Montech hardware to go. Open for entries from the Continental US (excluding Alaska), the giveaway runs till July 30. To participate, simply fill up a short form that helps us contact you if you've won.

For more information and to participate, visit this page.

Samsung Provides One-Stop Foundry Design Environment with the Launch of SAFE Cloud Design Platform

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced the launch of 'Samsung Advanced Foundry Ecosystem (SAFE ) Cloud Design Platform (CDP)' for fabless customers, in collaboration with Rescale, a leader in high performance computing (HPC) applications in the cloud. The key highlight feature of Samsung foundry's first SAFE Cloud Design Platform is that it provides a virtual environment to design chips in the cloud. By accessing this platform through the cloud, customers can immediately start designing at anytime and anywhere.

To maximize customers' design convenience, SAFE CDP supports a very secure design condition that has verified with cloud companies. In addition, customers can utilize various Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools offered by multiple vendors such as Ansys, Cadence, Mentor, a Siemens business and Synopsys. Gaonchips, one of Samsung Foundry's Design Solution Partners, has already tested the SAFE CDP on its 14 nm automotive project using Cadence's Innovus Implementation System and has successfully reduced its design run-time by 30 percent compared to current on-premise execution.

Samsung Expands its Foundry Capacity with A New Production Line in Pyeongtaek

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced plans to boost its foundry capacity at the company's new production line in Pyeongtaek, Korea, to meet growing global demand for cutting-edge extreme ultraviolet (EUV) solutions.

The new foundry line, which will focus on EUV-based 5 nanometer (nm) and below process technology, has just commenced construction this month and is expected to be in full operation in the second half of 2021. It will play a pivotal role as Samsung aims to expand the use of state-of-the-art process technologies across a myriad of current and next generation applications, including 5G, high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI).

U.S. Further Tightens Tech Export Regulations for China

The United States Government on Monday announced a new set of rules for U.S. companies exporting technology to Chinese firms directly or indirectly associated with the Chinese military, according to a Reuters report. The vagueness of what constitutes a Chinese entity that could supply derived technology over to the military could create confusion and uncertainty.

The new trade regime would see U.S. companies requiring to obtain a license to export technology to China. The U.S. also did away with exceptions to older rules that allowed U.S. firms to export to civilian Chinese companies without a license. "It is important to consider the ramifications of doing business with countries that have histories of diverting goods purchased from U.S. companies for military applications," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. The new rules will also require U.S. companies to file declarations of goods exported to China, Russia, and Venezuela, regardless of value.

The COVID-19 Pandemic, or Why Chaos Isn't a Pit... It's a Ladder

I had to take that sentence from Game of Thrones' Little Finger (if you recognized it, kudos to you), since I believe it to be mostly true, given we have the right mindset about that which surrounds us. While the pandemic will always be a mainly bleak point in humanity's history, and everyday there are reports of people being their worst selves through these difficult times, there is also always opportunity for growth affixed to any great crisis. It falls upon us, our institutions, and on companies, to see really what we can learn from situations such as these.

For one, we've seen, beyond any possible ideological beliefs we may have, that the Internet is a utility, not a commodity. Its capability to bridge the gaps in geography - and in social connection - is just too important in our globalized society to be considered anything other than a fundamental right. Discussions on this point have been ongoing for a while, and debates surrounding things like the net neutrality have already given birth to rivers of both actual and digital ink. However, it is this writer's opinion that the discussion is moot, and nothing more than a speedbump until we achieve the final, inescapable truth that the Internet is a crucial part of the world's infrastructure, and not only that - of what it means to be human in our modern world.

Maingear Announces The Maingear LIV: Emergency Pulmonary Ventilator

MAINGEAR—an award-winning PC system integrator of custom gaming desktops, notebooks, and workstations—today announced that they will be utilizing their manufacturing facilities to produce affordable and high-quality emergency ventilators to aid hospitals in the fight against COVID-19. The MAINGEAR LIV can be produced at scale for approximately a quarter of the price of traditional ventilators.

New Jersey-based manufacturer MAINGEAR—known for building the industry's most complex liquid cooling systems and high performance PCs—is located twenty-minutes outside of New York City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Due to the growing number of infected individuals needing treatment, there are significant shortages of ventilators in New York City hospitals. MAINGEAR is quickly re-tooling much of its production space for mass assembly of the MAINGEAR LIV—an emergency pulmonary ventilator for use in intensive care units on intubated patients.
Maingear LIV ventilator Maingear LIV ventilator

New U.S. Regulation Prevents Huawei Buying from TSMC, Could Backfire: Chinese Press

Huawei is planning a response to a recent administrative move by the U.S. Department of Commerce that makes it impossible for foreign companies such as Taiwan's TSMC to serve it. Huawei's mobile SoC design house subsidiary, HiSilicon, is highly dependant on TSMC to contract manufacture its SoCs on the company's 7 nm (N7), and various 10 nm-class FinFET nodes. Huawei is preparing to port some of its SoC designs to a 14 nm node of China's state-owned Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) as contingency. Without access to 7 nm, Huawei's plans to lead the global 5G infrastructure market would hit severe roadblocks. The U.S. move has triggered a heated (and somewhat loaded) reprisal from Global Times, a newspaper that's regarded in diplomatic circles as a platform for hawkish unofficial messaging by the Chinese government.

China could blackmail the U.S. into lifting its trade ban and a more recent supplier-access denial to Huawei, with potential shortages of essential medical supplies, particularly face masks. An eminent Chinese industrial analyst, Ma Jihua, told Chinese newspaper Global Times: "The Huawei problem has been elevated to one of national interests and Chinese firms may stop supplying much-needed face masks if the U.S. provokes [a fight with Huawei]." In addition to Chinese suppliers, American firms such as 3M manufacture face masks in China, besides several other consumables needed to fight epidemics, such as gloves, hazmat suits, goggles, etc.
No huawei, no face masks: China to the US

GTA V was in Top US Game Sales Charts for 74 Months

GTA V, made by Rockstar and Take-Two, is possibly the biggest game ever designed, with the massive player base and massive profits fulfilled. Perhaps the most interesting report today is that the game has stayed in the top game sales chart in the United States for the past 74 months. Month after month, gamers have been buying digital copies of the game to a point where it maintained some of the top spots on the charts. Since the game launched in 2013, it got support for two generations of consoles and PC platforms, making it accessible to a huge base of gamers. With constant updates and new content, the game managed to keep players interested and busy with new quests to conquer.

"Recurrent consumer spending on GTA Online grew 23% YoY to a new record, driven by the July release of the Diamond Casino Resort update. This update was GTA Online's biggest content launch ever, delivering record daily, weekly, and monthly active users in July and again in August," CEO of Take-Two Interactive Strauss Zelnick said in November.

TechPowerUp Cooler Master TUF Gaming Alliance Full System Giveaway: The Winner!

TechPowerUp and Cooler Master, in partnership with ASUS TUF Gaming Alliance, brought you a cracker of an year-end Giveaway, with a full gaming desktop on offer, equipped with stable and reliable components from the ASUS TUF Gaming Alliance of co-branded hardware. Our TUF Gaming Alliance system includes an ASUS TUF X470-Plus Gaming motherboard, AMD Ryzen 5 2600 processor, ASUS GeForce RTX 2060 TUF Gaming graphics card, 16 GB Apacer Panther Rage RGB TUF Gaming Edition memory, Cooler Master MasterBox MB500 TUF Gaming Edition case, Team Group T-Force Delta S TUF RGB 250 GB SSD, Cooler Master MasterWatt 750 W TUF Gaming Edition power-supply, and a Cooler Master MasterAir MA410M TUF Gaming Edition CPU cooler. The Winner takes all in our Giveaway, and without further ado here they are:
  • TechPowerUp Forums user "diatribe" from the United States
Huge Congratulations @diatribe, a winner is you! TechPowerUp and Cooler Master will return with more such interesting giveaways!

China Cuts Import Tariffs on Some U.S. Tech, Could Impact Electronic Goods Prices

China announced that it will reduce import tariffs on several U.S. commodities, including certain kinds of technology. This is a sign of easing tensions between the United States and China on its devastating trade-war waged between 2017-19 that wiped billions of Dollars of value from the capital markets and saw increases in prices of goods around the world. The exhaustive list of 859 commodities covers raw materials for a variety of polymers and plastics found in consumer durables, raw materials for energy storage devices, certain kinds of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, photo and video imaging equipment (camera components), LCD and OLED display components. There are hundreds of other commodities from other industries, covering food, industrial automation, and agriculture.

The items on China's updated import tariffs list amounts to some USD $389 billion in annual trade, or about 18 percent of China's annual imports. The cuts in import tariffs are expected to not just benefit U.S. exporters to China, but also stimulate similar import tariff cuts from the U.S. in response. China has an insatiable appetite for camera equipment, and has eased imports of OLED and certain semiconductor manufacturing equipment, which could have a trickle-down effect on the tech industry. Find the complete schedule of goods with updated import tariffs here. We've machine translated relevant pages in the screenshots below.

NVIDIA Provides U.S. Postal Service AI Technology to Improve Delivery Service

NVIDIA today announced that the United States Postal Service - the world's largest postal service, with 485 million mail pieces processed and delivered daily - is adopting end-to-end AI technology from NVIDIA to improve its package data processing efficiency. The new system starts with high-performance servers powered by NVIDIA V100 Tensor Core GPUs and deep learning software to train multiple AI algorithms. The trained models are then deployed to NVIDIA EGX edge computing systems at close to 200 Postal Service facilities throughout the U.S. to enable more efficient package data processing. The NVIDIA-powered systems are being purchased by the Postal Service under contract with Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

"AI is transforming multiple industries, enabling processes, accuracy and efficiency not possible before," said Anthony Robbins, vice president of the Federal Sector Business at NVIDIA. "The U.S. Postal Service's adoption of AI demonstrates how this powerful technology can improve an excellent service that we rely on every day. Benjamin Franklin would be proud." The Postal Service operates the world's highest volume logistics operation, processing and delivering some 146 billion pieces of mail annually, including more than 6 billion packages. The new AI system will process package data 10x faster and with higher accuracy.

Microsoft Bags DOD's $10 Billion JEDI Cloud Contract Edging Out Amazon

The United States Department of Defense (DOD) Friday awarded a USD $10 billion contract to Microsoft to build the JEDI Cloud (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure), a massive piece of connected IT infrastructure that seeks greater electronic integration within the U.S. Military, and prepare it for emerging forms of warfare. According to the New York Times, Amazon was the front-runner for the contract, having executed similar infrastructure contracts for the CIA. The NYT comments that President Donald Trump's spat with The Washington Post, a paper owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, could have affected Amazon's bid. Some of the biggest American cloud companies participated in the bidding, which include Amazon AWS, Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Oracle.

The World's First Cross-Game Currency to Receive No Action Relief from the SEC is Quarters

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued its first no-action letter for a blockchain token made for the game industry. Quarters (Q), a cross-game, cross-platform premium game token, provides a player-friendly and industry-friendly alternative to in-game tokens traditionally locked to a single game.

The Quarters smart contract provides this necessary trust by enabling everyone - players, developers and investors - to securely and transparently buy and use a prepaid arcade token. With the SEC regulatory relief, Quarters are also legal for all players to buy and use as a consumer product in the United States.

AMD To Offer RX 5700 XT Anniversary Edition in Europe, Canada After All

It seems that AMD either had a) unrevealed plans to launch their online store on more countries and markets alongside the introduction of the Navi-powered RX 5700 XT, or b) a change of mind when it comes to permitted availability of their collectors', limited-edition graphics card for the rest of the world. Originally reported to only be launched in the United States and China, an AMD representative (under the handle dprairie_AMD over at Reddit) has seemingly confirmed that the company will be bringing its limited-edition graphics cards to more markets than previously expected - though it still isn't a global release. The statement from Reddit follows.
Reddit user @dprairie_AMD
Hi all,
Friendly reminder that just because someone writes it doesn't mean it is true.... We will be expanding AMD.com sales to more countries, so we expect the 50th anniversary edition will also be available in: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Sorry we are not offering global availability at this point. We hear you on the desire. The team is focused on expanding into more regions/countries while making sure we can fully support customers.

TechPowerUp and Be Quiet! Upgrade Kit Giveaway: The Winners!

Early June, TechPowerUp in partnership with German PC cooling, casing, and power-supply experts Be Quiet!, who share our OCD for low-noise, brought you a sweet chance to upgrade your PC's case, power, and CPU cooling ahead of Summer. The results are in, and we have our three winners! The first randomly-selected entry from our Giveaway pool gets a combo of a Silent Base 601 Window Black case, a Straight Power 11 650W PSU, and a Dark Rock Slim CPU cooler. The next lucky winner gets the same case and CPU cooler. The third lucky winner gets the cooler. Without further ado, the winners!
  • Eliott "FreedomEclipse," from the U.K., hits the jackpot, wins a Silent Base 601 Window Black case, a Straight Power 11 650W PSU, and a Dark Rock Slim CPU cooler (one of each)
  • Bryan, from Texas, United States, wins a Silent Base 601 Window Black case and a Dark Rock Slim CPU cooler (one each)
  • Tsvetomir from Sofia, Bulgaria, wins a Dark Rock Slim CPU cooler
A huge Congratulations to you three! Happy Gaming this Summer!

U.S. Dept of Commerce Gives Huawei a 90-day Waiver to Wrap Up its Affairs

The United States Department of Commerce granted Huawei a 90-day respite in the form of a waiver, from the Bureau of Industry and Security's list of entities American businesses cannot trade with. Huawei shook the tech world last weekend, when it found itself banned by the Department of Commerce. Called TGL, or Temporary General License, with a defined lifespan of 90 days following 20th May, the TGL "grants operators time to make other arrangements and the Department space to determine the appropriate long term measures for Americans and foreign telecommunications providers that currently rely on Huawei equipment for critical services," said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

"In short, this license will allow operations to continue for existing Huawei mobile phone users and rural broadband networks," he added. The 90-day period blunts the abrupt nature of the ban, giving U.S. businesses time to make alternative business plans with other partners. It also gives Huawei time to wrap up its affairs by seeking out dues from U.S. businesses, clearing out its dues to U.S. businesses, and lawfully exiting the U.S. market.

U.S. Tech Industry, Including Google, Microsoft, Intel, and Qualcomm, Ban Huawei

The United States tech industry has overnight dealt a potentially fatal blow to Chinese electronics giant Huawei, by boycotting the company. The companies are establishing compliance with a recent Executive Order passed by President Donald Trump designed to "stop the import, sale, and use of equipment and services by foreign companies based in countries that are potential adversaries to U.S. interests," particularly information technology security. Google has announced that it will no longer allow Huawei to license Android, and will stop updates and Google Play access to Huawei smartphones. Huawei can still equip its phones with open-source Android, but it cannot use Google's proprietary software, including Google Play Store, Chrome, and all the other Google apps. Intel decided to no longer supply processors and other hardware to Huawei, for use in its laptops and server products. Sales of AMD processors will stop, too. Qualcomm-Broadcom have decided to stop supply of mobile SoCs and network PHYs, respectively. Microsoft decided to stop licensing Huawei to use Windows and Office products.

The ban is a consequence of the U.S. Government placing Huawei on a list of banned entities, forcing all U.S. companies to abandon all trade with it, without prior approval from the Department of Commerce. Trade cuts both ways, and not only are U.S. firms banned from buying from Huawei, they're also banned from selling to it. Huawei "buys from" over 30 U.S. companies, (for example, Windows licenses from Microsoft). CNN reports that U.S. firms could lose up to $11 billion in revenues.
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